Training at the Academy of Light

Youngsters to head to Africa

by Sunderland AFC

U16 side to take part in prestigious youth tournament.

Sunderland AFC’s under-16 team will fly out to South Africa at the end of the month to compete in the 2014 Future Champions Gauteng Cup.

The competition is regarded as one of the most competitive youth tournaments in the world, with 16 teams from across the globe competing to win the coveted trophy.

This will be a fantastic experience for the boys to test themselves against some of the finest opposition from across the globe

- Ged McNamee

Sunderland, who recently appeared in the Capital One Cup final, will be hoping for similar success when the club’s under-16 team head to South Africa.

The young Black Cats, who train at the club's Academy of Light, have been drawn in Group D and will pit their wits against Royal Wahingdoh FC from India, USYSA Select from the USA and South African side Mamelodi Sundowns.

Ged McNamee, Sunderland's academy manager, said: “This will be a fantastic experience for the boys to test themselves against some of the finest opposition from across the globe. 

"We are looking to learn how teams in other parts of the world operate and their different styles of play. I am sure this will be a life-enriching experience for everyone at the club.” 

The club’s academy coaches will also be taking part in a ‘Coach the Coaches’ programme, where they will be highlighting how the Academy of Light operates, general best practice and sports science.

Ged continued: “The work they are doing to develop players and coaches is great and I am looking forward to contributing to the elevation of the standard of football in the country.”

The Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament, organised by Global Sports International on behalf of the Gauteng Provincial Government, led by the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, has grown into one of the top Under-17 competitions on the global football calendar and is now in its sixth year. 

This year’s tournament will take place from March 24-29 at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto.

The field of 16 teams for this year’s event will consist of 12 international sides (Sunderland AFC, Ado Den Haag, Atletico Mineiro, Aspire Academy, Braazaville Academy, Club Tijuana, K Stars, Royal Wahingdoh FC, Saki West, Shandong Luneng, Toronto FC and USYSA Select) and four teams from South Africa (Jomo Cosmos, SuperSports, Sunward Park and Mamelodi Sundowns).